Straw is an accessible and natural material that is suitable for many uses in your garden. It’s an affordable, versatile, and reusable option that will save you time, energy, and money. It is ideal for anything from mulch to compost, freeing your garden of weeds, nourishing the soil, and maintaining moisture levels.
If you’re looking for an affordable addition to solve many common gardening mistakes and problems, stay tuned. In this guide, you’ll learn some of the best ways to use straw in your garden and get the best bang for your buck.
Ways to Use Straw in Your Garden
Straw mulch serves as a protective layer for soil, meaning it maintains moisture levels and stops weeds from growing. It will also act as a form of drainage before water reaches the soil. This will ensure that your plants don’t become over or under watered. Plus, it act as a barrier between the soil and the sun, slowing the process of evaporation so you won’t have to water as often.
Straw mulch will also reduce the need to weed. The sun won’t reach the soil and the weeds won’t be able to germinate or grow. Also, be sure to lay the straw between your plants, leaving an inch around the stems so that they receive the proper oxygen and airflow.
Straw is also a great addition to your compost pile. The straw will increase the carbon in the mixture and create a more balanced compost, which will in turn break down the food scraps. It will also trap pockets of air in the compost. These pockets are appealing to earthworms which will help with the decomposition process.
It is important to break the straw up before you use it in compost so that it will break down faster. You can also use straw as a thick layer over the top of the compost to trap moisture and help the materials break down. If you choose to use it as a top layer, it can be reused many times.
3. Soil Amendment
If your garden soil is low-quality, dense, and lacking nutrients, you may be able to revive it using straw. By mixing the organic material into the soil, you’ll add extra bulk and airflow, which will help with root health and nutrient uptake. The straw is also a source of organic matter, which should improve the structure of the soil as well as its porosity and drainage ability.
Also, the soil will eventually decompose, increasing levels of nitrogen and nutrients in the soil. To use straw as soil amendment, loosen the soil with a rake and mix in loose pieces of straw.
4. Seed Protection
Whether the elements seem to be against you, or birds and squirrels are always stealing your seeds, straw is a great way to protect your freshly planted crops and seedlings. Simply plant the seeds as you normally would and then add a light layer of straw. Shredded straw is the best option here since the layer will be dense enough to provide protection and moisture, while still being light enough to allow for drainage and airflow.
5. Erosion Control
Uncovered soil is often the victim of the elements, whether that be wind or rain. A layer of straw is an excellent and affordable way to maintain your soil and its quality. You can also use straw bales to keep soil from running off your garden beds or into a stream or waterway. This will ensure that your soil is protected and held in place.
6. Winter Protection
Many crops and plants tend to suffer from the frosts and snow of the winter months. Fortunately, a thick layer of straw is an effective insulator. In the winter, straw can be placed over your garden to protect them from the cold. This is why it is good for mulching during the summer months as well, since it will protect your soil from becoming too hot.
Find Some Straw
Straw is a multifaceted, reusable addition to your garden. It is ideal for protecting fall-planted flower bulbs and root crops during the winter but it can also be left in place during the summer months as mulching. Plus, it can protect both your seeds and soil all summer long. It should eventually degrade and act as a form of compost or it can be mixed into the soil to create better airflow.
So, will you be using straw your garden? Let us know down below! And if you’re interested in household products that are ideal for use in your yard, check out these guides on how to use epsom salts, tea leaves, and banana peels in your garden!